UFC 142: Featherweight champion José Aldo will no doubt be pounding the Everlast heavy bag pretty hard as he prepares to defend his title on his home turf against American Chad Mendes this coming January 14, 2012. The event will be taking place in Rio de Janeiro at the HSBC Arena and will pit the impressively aggressive and acrobatically inclined Brazilian against the 26 year-old Mendes, a native Californian who first gained attention wrestling in high school and later attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he continued to rank highly in the Pac-10.
For his part, Brazil’s Aldo comes from extremely humble roots where he was not always able to afford food. Aside from being a famed athlete, he is also well known as a highly active soccer fan, rooting for Rio’s local Clube de Regatas do Flamengo as well as Chelsea in the United Kingdom. Clearly, the slightly older and taller Aldo will be a serious hometown favorite with a pretty severe home advantage. There will be many long faces in Rio if the winner is not “Scarface.” (Aldo still bears the evidence of an injury he suffered at the hands of his sisters after some youthful roughhousing led him into a barbecue pit.)
Rounding out the night will be a number of main and preliminary bouts pitting Brazilian native sons against competitors from around the world. Among them, Vitor Belfort, who is married to famed actress and model Joana Prado, will be facing the USA’s Anthony Johnson. Johnson, a welterweight who recently appeared in the acclaimed MMA drama “Warrior,” will be making his debut as a middleweight in Rio. Brazilian welterweight Erick Silva will also be making short work of his boxing heavy bag while preparing to battle countryman Carlo Prater. Lightweight Edson Barboza will also face England’s Terry Etim.